Reporting from this year’s SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, the New York Times’ Jenna Wortham writes about the heavy presence of hardware at this year’s festival:

The new emphasis on devices over software reflects a much larger shift in the start-up and tech world, driven by tools like crowdfunding and 3-D printing that make it cheaper, faster and easier to create prototypes. The trend is accelerating partly because of the popularity of and excitement around small companies making items like wearable fitness devices as well as smartwatches developed by Pebble and smart thermostats created by Nest.

And now the devices are taking over the halls and convention center of South by Southwest, which has historically been known as a launchpad for new software services; Twitter, Foursquare, GroupMe and Highlight all got their inaugural push on those convention center grounds.

Many of these devices on display are being powered by mobile broadband networks, which goes to show just how robust the current technological ecosystem is becoming. In other words, investment in more powerful networks is leading to more innovative and powerful hardware. Which is exactly how it’s supposed to work.